Internet Headline Writing

This page was created for use in my former classes. It is only occasionally updated resulting in many links being more of historical rather than current usefulness. Over time many links will suffer link rot.




         Critiquing headlines

         Headline writing is journalism

         Using headlines as a design element

         Learning to write headlines that say something

         Telling the story without repeating the lead

         Developing and adhering to a headline style

         When is a play on words appropriate?

         Taking the time to rewrite

         Headline writing exercise

         Critiquing your own headlines



  1. Writing enticing headlines, subheadings and links
  2. 10 Tips For Writing Effective Web Copy
  3. Wordtracker
  5. Good Keywords
  6. Online Evangelism A guide to Web Outreach
  7. FAQ: Search Engine Optimization     SitePoint Forums
  8. BBC Training & Development    BBC News Styleguide
  9. BBC - homepage - Home of the BBC on the Internet
  10. BBC NEWS | News Front Page]
  11. THE SLOT: A Spot for Copy Editors       SHARP POINTS      ****
  12. Some common errors in English     List of Errors
  13. Writing Headlines and Blurbs for the Internet
  14. 3-Minute Headline Creator     [$27]
  15. A Simple Rule to Create the Best Headlines: The 100 to 1 Rule
  16. Five Essential Web Writing Guidelines
  17. How Headlines Can Help
  18. 5 Facts That Will Have You Re-Writing Your Website In A Hurry
  19. Research-based Web Design & Usability Guidelines       Web writing guidelines backed by research
  20. Woeful Circulations for Digital Editions
  21. Poynter Online - Tip Sheets: Online       Writing for the Web
  22. Four Things Every Web Site Headline Must Do
  23. Online Storytelling Forms
  24. How to Write Headlines
  25. Hypulp
  26. Digital Deliverance
  27. USC Annenberg and Online Journalism Review    The Third Wave of Online Journalism
  28. NVCC - Writing Center
  29. Queensland Government Web Centre : Web Centre : Writing for the Web
  30. Language Tools - iTools
  1. Web copy style     Principles of copywriting for the web
  2. Copywriting for the web
  3. Begin with the Blurb
    Bill Cook shows us how to come up with the perfect Blurb to highlight our headlines.
    EGGads! Capital Headline Mistakes
    Meryl Evans tries to clean up the Web's headlines and give us a grammar lesson.
    Writing Well for the Web
    A few tips on how to write headlines on the Web.
    Do's and Don'ts of Headline Writing
    Read this and you'll know you're Ps and Qs about headlines.
    Guide to Writing Headlines
    A well-written interesting article about headlines.
    How to write titles
    A good guide to writing headlines with a characterization of different kinds of headlines.
    Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines
    By Jakob Nielsen, the master of usability.**
    Writing Headlines
    Good headlines, bad headlines; an article full of tips.
    Writing Headlines not so Easy
    A useful tutorial from the Akron Beacon Journal.

search: web Headline writing

Here are interesting results of a study from the Poynter Institute that tracked users' eye movements on mock news-oriented web pages and generated "heatmaps" indicating where they paused and for how long. < >    [ only people who did not need to wear glasses!]
Key findings:

  1. Upper left section of page gets most attention.
  2. Dominant headlines get more attention than photos ("On average, a headline has less than a second of a site visitor's attention").
  3. The first words of a headline, or the left 1/3 of a blurb, get most attention.
  4. Photos larger than ca. 230 pixels wide & deep, showing people's faces, do best.
  5. Small type encourages reading rather than scanning (they don't claim this guarantees the text will actually be read).
  6. Short paragraphs get more attention than long ones.
  7. Top of page is the best location for nav bars.
  8. This jumped out at me --> "new, unfamiliar, conceptual information was more accurately recalled when participants received it in a multimedia graphic format. ... information about processes or procedures seemed to be comprehended well when presented using animation and text".

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David J. Hark
P. O. Box 201 Shepherdstown, WV 25443-0201

Last updated: 17 September 2004


© 2004 David J. Hark